Debbie McCormick holds the high honor of competing on the US Curling Team in four different Games: 1998, 2006, 2010, and 2014. A Shaklee Pure Performance Team athlete since 2014, Debbie shares her workout tips with Shaklee, and shares her memories as an athlete at the Games. Here is her account.
As the 2018 Shaklee Pure Performance Team athletes arrived in PyeongChang, South Korea, I could relate very well to their feelings. It was only four years ago that I experienced similar emotions as I arrived in Sochi, Russia. I was also fortunate enough to represent the USA in Nagano in 1998, in Turin in 2006, and in Vancouver in 2010 in the sport of Curling.
I can easily recall the tough grind, physical conditioning, and mental toughness required to arrive on this prestigious world stage, and all the accompanying emotions of the moment. All these athletes have endured countless hours training in their sport. Many have overcome injuries, extensive traveling to competitions all over the world, and many qualification rounds, all while attempting to retain some focus on their nutrition and recovery.
In Curling, there is a lot more to training than you might think. When my team and I were training to qualify for the Games, I was practicing five days a week on the ice, either by myself, with my coach, or with my coach and teammates. Of course, training and practice are different for every sport. Some athletes train in ice arenas most of the day. Others feel like they live on a chairlift, going up the mountain all day. And all athletes know their gym like the back of their hand. Most live out of a suitcase, and many can tell you the flight schedule for their airline of choice any day you ask them.
When I was at the height of my training with dreams of competing on the world's biggest stage, I was traveling all over North America and Europe competing with my team at the toughest competitions. I was practicing at my local training facility every day I did not have a competitive game. I trained at my local gym, focusing on staying strong both mentally and physically. Equally important was staying focused on proper nutrition - which Shaklee made easy for me.
Once an athlete qualifies for the Games, the feeling is difficult to put into words. My emotions were utter happiness and joy, relief and excitement, all at once. The time and effort, overcoming injuries, and time away from friends and loved ones - all of it suddenly becomes so very worth it. The Games are the biggest international sporting event. The best of the best athletes of their time, and perhaps all time, are there. It is a goal and a dream held by every competitor at the Games. To be a part of all that is exhilarating! Every time I get the chance to wear a "USA" jersey, I feel proud and honored.
Certainly, the best part of the Games is competing in your beloved sport, putting yourself up against the best in the world and competing to the best of your ability, leaving it all on the line knowing you did your best at that critical moment. But there's more: People look up to you and want you to share your experience. I feel it is important to give back, be a role model, and share such an amazing honor. Many people have contributed to helping each athlete reach their dreams, including amazing coaches, training staff, and individuals and organizations offering financial support.
The months leading up to the Games and then competing at the Games are an emotional roller coaster - the highest of highs to the lowest of lows and everything in between. Still, I enjoy talking about my experiences from the Games, even though they weren't always picture-perfect. But having the opportunity - as well as the support of my family, friends, community, and nation - is the best feeling and experience in the world, something I will always cherish.